At the heart of many American cities, shuttered industrial sites riddle the urban fabric, leaving behind contaminated soils and unemployment. The Kroc Corps Community Center serves as a beacon for how to transform these challenging urban areas with high-quality facilities that are carefully designed to promote the health of the whole person, their community, and environment. Both programming and facilities were developed with a holistic approach to not just provide services, but to enrich lives; to not only reuse vacant land, but to heal it and make it productive. It shows that even neighborhoods with limited resources deserve the best design can offer.
Using a comprehensive, sustainable landscape approach, our design dramatically transformed an abandoned, brownfield site into a dynamic community center set within an expansive, green oasis. The richly programmed landscape creates a hierarchy of activities arrayed around a central green. The landscape captures, filters, and reuses rainwater, restores native habitat, and supports urban agriculture. During construction, our zero-waste approach resulted in nearly all of the site’s existing pavements being recycled and reused on-site. Our work has demonstrated measurable ecosystem benefits that can be used as an example for the design and benchmarking of other urban brownfield redevelopments.